The thought gives new and exemplary meaning to a haunting moment in Renoir's La Regle du jeu, when, at the climax of the costume ball in the chateau, now infiltrated by skeletons waving their lamps and celebrating mortality to the tune of Sain-Saens's Danse macabre, the fat lady pianist, hands in her lap, can be glimpsed staring with rapt melancholia at the skeletal autonomy of the keyboard itself, behind which the piano rolls have taken charge with a vengeance. It is a fable of the work of art at that particular stage of its mechanical reproducibility, gazing at its own alienated power with morbid fascination.
I'm no film expert, but I do at least know that the English title of the movie is The Rules of the Game. It's a black-and-white picture about this extravagant party on some over-sized estate that goes terribly wrong. And then people die.